Family members of a 3-year-old boy killed in a northern Missouri house fire last week say that the boy may have had a chance to survive had police not used a stun gun on the boy’s stepfather as he frantically tried to re-enter the burning home to save the child.
According to a report KHQA, Ryan and Cathy Miller, the boy’s parents, awoke in the early morning hours of Oct. 31 to find that their home was engulfed in flames. Unable to reach the child’s bedroom because of the fire that had broken out in a recreation room in the rear of the home, the couple exited through the back door. As police and firefighters were just arriving on the scene, according to reports, Ryan Miller was kicking in the front door of the home in an effort to re-enter the burning building and save the child.
Police forbade Miller to re-enter the home, telling him it was too dangerous to attempt to save the child’s life. When, as any parent would, Miller decided that the officers’ commands and his safety were far less important than the innocent child’s well-being, the officers forcefully restrained and then fired on him with a stun gun.
Miller was then arrested and later released from the city jail without being charged with a crime.
“He tried to get back in the house to get the baby,” Lori Miller, Ryan Miller’s mother, told local media. “They took my son to jail because he tried to save his son.”
Lori Miller said that she witnesses two officers use the stun gun on the man a total of three times.
The man’s sister-in-law called the officers’ actions heartless and inappropriate.
“It’s just heartless. How could they be so heartless? And while they all just stood around and waited for the fire department, what kind of police officer wouldn’t try and save a 3-year-old burning in a house?” said Emily Miller. “We’ve been going through pictures and he’s just smiling in every picture. He was just a happy, go-lucky kid.”
A city official called the police officers’ actions a “judgment call.”
Local officials say that there was no reasonable possibility that Ryan Miller would have been successful in his efforts to retrieve the toddler from the burning home, claiming that a firefighter who later arrived on the scene was unable to stand the heat in full gear.
The toddler’s remains were reportedly found near a bedroom doorway leading to the living area in the front of the home.